Quick Mill Anita Espresso Machine Review: Entry Level Prosumer Model
If you’re shopping for a mid-range heat-exchanger espresso machine, you’ve probably noticed there are a lot of them on the market. They’re popular for a good reason. For many people, they offer the perfect blend of quality, affordability, and ease of use.
But this glut of products can feel overwhelming. So what makes the Quick Mill Anita stand out from the crowd? This in-depth review is here to tell you exactly that.
SUMMARY: The Quick Mill Anita Evo
- Semi automatic espresso machine with heat exchanger boiler
- Fully articulated stainless steel no-burn steam wand and hot water wand
- Enough user-friendly features to make it an ideal entry level prosumer machine
Anita delivers a thick, rich crema with every pull. I have had many machines, and this is the best cappuccino I have ever made— period– Dan H.
Where to Buy the Anita Evo
Let’s admit it: putting aside a larger amount of money for making a life-time purchase is not easy. That’s where we come to rescue. To a certain degree, at least. We’ve compiled a list of our trusted sellers for you to choose from. Hope you can find what deal suits you best.
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The Full Quick Mill Anita Review
Quick Mill is a well-regarded espresso machine manufacturer based in Milan, Italy. A region recognized as the global center for great espresso. Their line of prosumer espresso machines is known for impressive build quality, user-friendly features, and affordable prices.
The Anita Evo is the smaller and less expensive of the brand’s two popular heat exchanger (HX) models. As long as you’re content with its marginally lower capacity, you’ll find that the Anita offers incredible value for money.
Want to know more? Keep scrolling for all the details.
Brewing Capacity – 3.5/5
The Anita is a semi-automatic espresso maker equipped with a heat exchange boiler. The advantage of an HX over a standard single boiler is that you can steam milk and pull a shot of great espresso simultaneously. This is the same functionality as a double boiler, but heat exchangers are less expensive and more compact and are typically easier to maintain.
The Anita has a 1.6-liter copper boiler, which is on the small side. Comparable machines like the Lelit Mara and Rocket Appartamento have 1.8-liter boilers, as does Quick Mill’s other HX machine, the Andreja Evo. However, if you don’t often need the capacity to make many drinks in a row, you’ll appreciate Anita’s compact frame and slightly lower price than these alternatives.
The copper boiler with brass end-plates is a surprisingly premium choice for such an affordable machine. A copper boiler has better thermal properties than the more commonly seen stainless steel, but it is more expensive. According to longtime espresso pro Michael Teahan, the high thermal conductivity of copper means it restabilizes at the correct temperature more quickly after brewing, great for pulling back-to-back shots (1).
Copper boilers and exchangers were used to quickly conduct heat to the group so that the cycle of temperature profiling could reset quickly.
On the other hand, the downside of the copper boiler is that it is less durable and more prone to the build-up of scale. The purpose of the brass end-plates is neither thermal nor financial; they make it easier to connect the internal plumbing to the boiler.
The boiler’s interior is TEA coated, a process patented by Quick Mill that prevents any metal from leaching into your brew water. The exterior of the boiler is insulated with a thermal wrap, which helps maintain a stable temperature and makes this machine more energy efficient.
The Anita uses an Ulka 52-watt vibratory pump with thermal overload protection. The overload protection ensures that the power will cut automatically if the pump is overheating, preventing expensive damage.
While rotary pumps are often considered the gold standard in espresso machines, there are many good reasons to choose a vibratory pump. Indeed, both styles are more than capable of generating the pump pressure needed to brew espresso.
Vibratory pumps are generally used because they are smaller, less expensive, and easier to repair. Some baristas even prefer to ramp up to pump pressure more slowly, providing a longer natural pre-infusion stage (2). Rotary pumps produce a more steady pressure and because they don’t vibrate. Espresso makers with rotary pumps can also be plumbed directly to a water supply, making them valuable in high-volume situations.
There are two pressure gauges on the front of the Anita. You’ll find them very useful for producing consistent shots of espresso.
Not all machines in this price range include a pressure gauge, let alone two. So this is a key feature that distinguishes Anita from competitors like the Rocket Appartamento, for example.
Any other bells and whistles?
On the front of the machine, you’ll note the iconic E61 group head (3). Designed in 1961, this brew group continues to be the industry standard for commercial grade and prosumer espresso machines worldwide. It relies on thermosiphon circulation, cycling hot water from the boiler to the group, to maintain excellent temperature stability.
If you’ve been doing a lot of espresso maker research, you’ll have noted that PID temperature control is becoming increasingly popular. But you won’t find a PID in Anita. A PID provides a more accurate and stable brewing temperature than a pressure stat, which is why machines with PIDs are generally more expensive. But heat exchangers benefit less from including a PID because you aren’t setting the brew temperature directly anyway. So it’s harder to justify the extra cost of adding a PID to a heat-exchange espresso maker.
With Anita, you modulate the temperature the old-fashion way by performing cooling flushes of various durations. This takes a little practice, but many users actually prefer it to a PID because you can adjust the temperature much faster.The top one measures the boiler pressure, and the lower shows extraction pressure. Do keep in mind that the lower gauge is thus only relevant while you’re pulling a shot.
User Friendliness – 4/5
The Quick Mill Anita really impressed me with its user-friendliness. Sure, it’s a semi-automatic heat exchange design, so there will be a learning curve as you figure out how to properly prepare the puck and use cooling flushes to regulate temperature. But overall, this machine has some clever features that make it a joy to use.
First, there’s the patented Quick Mill three-position power switch found on many of their machines. Unlike most two-position on/off switches, this one adds a third option that powers everything except the heating element. This ensures the boiler fills before heat is applied, avoiding any user error that could cause damage. Indicator lights are used to let you know the status of the machine. It’s a clever solution that I’m surprised isn’t offered more often.
The 3-liter water reservoir is also well designed, which is particularly important in a machine where direct plumbing isn’t possible. It’s large, made from BPA-free plastic, and bottom-fed, and you can access it for refilling without having to disturb the cup warming tray. When the water tank level gets too low, a magnetic sensor automatically cuts power to the heating circuit but not to the pump. So if you’re in the middle of brewing coffee, your shot won’t stop, but you will avoid heat-related damage.
Another nice feature is the easily accessible expansion valve. All you need to do is lift off the stainless steel cup warming tray. There’s no need to pull out your toolbox and venture inside your machine. This allows you to quickly and easily adjust brew pressure if you want to experiment with something other than the factory standard 9 bar (4).
If you’re upgrading from an appliance-grade espresso maker, these features all make the Quick Mill Anita an excellent entry point into prosumer models. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more hands-off, the fully automatic Quick Mill Evolution 70 might be more your style.
Milk Frothing – 3.5/5
The milk frothing system on the Anita is excellent, as is true of most HX espresso makers. The large steam boiler size relative to a double-boiler espresso machine means you get a lot of steam pressure from a relatively small machine. It will take less than 30 seconds to steam enough milk for an average size latte.
As I mentioned before, this boiler is a tad smaller than others in its class. The impact of this is that you won’t be able to steam for quite as long before it needs to recover. You’ll certainly have plenty of power for a large latte, but you will notice it start to fall off if you’re trying to make 4 or 5 milky drinks in a row. Luckily, recovery time is pretty quick with the 1400 Watt heating element.
The steam and hot water wands feature a double-wall no-burn design, which is increasingly popular among high-end home espresso makers. Even after extended steaming, the exterior of the steam wand won’t get hot enough to burn you. Though bear in mind that the steam tip will still be scalding. An added benefit of the cooler steam wand exterior is that you won’t have to clean a crust of burnt milk off it after each drink.
The Quick Mill Anita uses non-compression valves for both steam and hot water, a treat to see in a machine destined for home use. We often see this valve style in commercial-grade machines because non-compression valves are more durable and easily repaired. Compression valves, in contrast, are quicker to fail and impossible to fix.
Build Quality – 4/5
The build quality of the Quick Mill Anita is top notch, as you’d expect from an Italian espresso machine manufacturer that’s been around for over 70 years (5). This machine has primarily high-quality stainless steel construction, with a mirror finish casing, stainless steel drip tray, and stainless steel cup warmer up top.
All that shiny stainless steel housing gives it an elegant look that can easily make it the focal point of your kitchen. The dark blue background on the commercial grade boiler pressure gauges is a nice aesthetic touch as well.
It comes with two portafilters, a single spout and a double spout, along with filter baskets sized for each. Both are commercial grade, made from chrome-plated brass and with a 58 mm diameter.
Often lower-cost machines like this one will only come with one portafilter, so it’s nice to see two included here.
In a similar vein, it is great to see Quick Mill include a quality metal tamper with wooden handle. Given the importance of tamping in great espresso preparation, it’s a shame how many brands opt to include throwaway plastic tampers (6).
The Anita is a fairly compact machine, as prosumer models go, measuring 15.75 inches tall by 11.5 inches wide by 18.25 inches deep. It isn’t the smallest on the market (the Rocket Appartamento is smaller, and the Lelit Mara is smaller still), but it is small enough to fit comfortably in most kitchens.
Its height easily fits under upper cupboards, but that doesn’t take into account that you’ll need to access the top to refill the water tank. Sliding it out from under the cupboards is an option, but at nearly 50 pounds, it’s probably not an option you’re going to enjoy in the long run.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
Cleaning and maintenance is a category in which most prosumer espresso makers are very similar, the Quick Mill Anita included. Many buyers new to the world of premium espresso expect that these more expensive machines require less work, but the opposite is true.
You’ll need to be more diligent with your prosumer machine than you would with a cheaper appliance espresso machine. But don’t let that dissuade you because the pay-off is more than worth the few extra tasks. Not only will you make far better espresso, but your machine will last many years longer. That’s what you’re paying for.
That said, the regular upkeep for the Anita is pretty straightforward. First of all, as with any high-end espresso machine, you should always use filtered water. It’s like putting premium gas in a sports car. You’ll get better performance in the form of tastier espresso shots, and you’ll avoid the build-up of scale and other dirt inside the boiler and plumbing. Descaling a prosumer espresso machine is not simple and is definitely a chore best avoided.
The E 61 group head is always a welcome component from a maintenance perspective. These group heads have been around for decades for a good reason. They work, and they work reliably and consistently for many years. Plus, if anything does go wrong, it is easy to find information, spare parts, and skilled technicians to make repairs.
Basic day-to-day cleaning and maintenance is a piece of cake with Anita. It’s a pour over machine, meaning you can’t plumb it in, so your main job will be monitoring water levels in the drip tray and water tank. As already mentioned, the heating element will shut off automatically if the water tank gets too low, avoiding possible damage. And the drip tray is one of the biggest, around over 50 ounces.
The Anita comes with a stainless-steel backflush disc, and you should make use of it. Backflush with water on at least a weekly basis, and backflush with a cleaning solution as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, usually every 3 to 6 months. Finally, keep a microfiber cloth on hand to wipe up any spills and splatters and keep that beautiful polished stainless steel outer shell looking pristine.
Things we liked:
- Reliable E61 group head
- Can brew and steam at the same time
- Three-position power switch
- Excellent steam pressure
Things we didn’t like:
- Small capacity
- Vibratory pump is a bit loud
Don’t Buy the Quick Mill Anita If…
You want more capacity: If you have a big latte-loving household or like to throw a lot of espresso parties, you might prefer something with a larger boiler. In that case, the Quick Mill Andreja is a great option. This machine is nearly identical to the Anita but with a 1.8 liter boiler. Alternatively, pay a bit more for a higher-end machine like the Profitec Pro 500, which has a 2 liter boiler and PID temperature control.
You don’t make many milky drinks: On the other end of the spectrum, if lattes are rare in your house, you can save money by going for a single boiler, dual use style machine. For example, read our review of the Quick Mill Alexia, a single boiler machine featuring the same E 61 group as the Anita. Or consider the unique Quick Mill Silvano, which has a single brew boiler and separate thermoblock for steam.
You prefer a double boiler: If you’d rather not learn the ins and outs of using a semi automatic heat exchanger, you can find double boilers at the same price point provided you’re willing to sacrifice the E61 group. Two of my favorites are the Lelit Elizabeth and the Profitec Pro 300. If you want a double boiler with the E61 group, you’ll need to increase your budget a tad, but the Quick Mill Vetrano will serve you very well.
If you’re ready for an espresso machine that can brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously, the Quick Mill Anita semi-automatic espresso machine is an attractive entry-level option. Compared with the competition, the Anita is smaller, less expensive, and easier to use, making it an ideal choice for anyone ready to upgrade from a thermoblock or single boiler.
- Teahan, M. (2019, May 29). Heat: Understanding an Age-Old Problem in Espresso. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/05/29/heat-understanding-an-age-old-problem-in-espresso/
- Lee, J. (2017, April 28). Espresso-Making Skills: What’s Pre-Infusion? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/04/espresso-making-skills-whats-pre-infusion/
- Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 Group Head: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://fivesenses.com.au/blogs/news/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie/
- Kilbride, D. (2017, June 8). How Does Pressure Affect Espresso Quality? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/how-does-pressure-affect-espresso-quality/
- Stamp, J. (2012, June 19). The Long History of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-long-history-of-the-espresso-machine-126012814/
- May, N. (2015, September 15). Tamping: the Consistency Game. Retrieved from https://freshcup.com/tamping-the-consistency-game/